Style Sex & Relationships

Friday 19 January 2018

Perfect cure for lovestruck

Carrie Nathan proves to be just what the doctor ordered for Ian Gargan, finds Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith

If you can have a row with someone over dinner and then propose marriage to them later on that evening, it's safe to assume that you have a strong belief in the relationship. Just ask Dr Ian Gargan, who had planned to pop the question to his TV producer wife Carrie Nathan over dinner in Shanahan's, until an argument about the possibility of her moving back to live in her native UK spoiled the moment.

"We had gone to see Playboy of the Western World and I was planning to ask Carrie to marry me afterwards at dinner," he recalls. "But later, as I walked her home, I realised in my own head that if we could have a row and everything else was still great, we could rise above it. I really wanted to marry Carrie, so I proposed."

Carrie and Ian first met on the set of RTE's Celebrity Farm series in 2003, which starred Twink, Mary Coughlan, Kevin Sharkey and Gavin Lambe Murphy. Ian was the show's expert psychologist, while Carrie was a producer.

"I looked after his parts of the show, and we just became friends," she says. "We ended up meeting after the programme ended and Ian asked me out on a date. I didn't expect it, although I obviously liked him as I found myself going to do my make-up on set when I knew he was arriving in."

Carrie is from Sussex, and she attended the University of Leicester after school, where she studied English literature, psychology and history of art. Then she moved to Dublin "on a whim", having read an article about what a cultural, vibrant and fun place it was. She started working in television as a researcher and rose to producer level, working on productions such as Legal Eagles, Our Lady's and The Dinner Party.

When Ian asked her to marry him, it was a tricky time for Carrie as she was at a diverging path in her work life. She had been thinking about going back to the UK and investing time in developing her career with the BBC, until Ian came along and threw a spanner in that particular works.

"I really didn't want that to happen because I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Carrie," he says. "We were only going out about six months when I asked her to marry me."

Happily she said yes, and Carrie and Ian were married in 2006, They now have two children, Ruby, 4, and Sebastian, 2. Carrie took some time out from work after the children were born, and recently set up a new company called Sartoria Productions with fellow producer Clare Pearson. They work part-time at present, developing ideas for television, and have a few programme concepts in with RTE and other places at present.

"I love arts and culture so am very interested in Carrie's job," says Ian. "She's very considerate of everyone, almost to a fault. She's a terrific mum and very supportive of my career. Her worst characteristic is that sometimes it's like living with myself in terms of busyness. Carrie never stops going, so sitting in front of the television watching a bit of football is a rarity for me."

Ian's list of accomplishments are impressive. The eldest of three brothers from Drogheda, he studied applied psychology at UCC. This was his second choice after medicine, for which he didn't get the points. He then went on to do a masters in forensic psychology at the University of Leicester, a year after Carrie left there. Thereafter, Ian lived in Perth in Australia for two years, where he trained as a forensic psychologist.

However, he was still keen on medicine, so returned to Dublin in 1999 to fulfil his dream of studying medicine at Trinity College. He couldn't afford the fees and wrote a letter to The Gerry Ryan Radio Show in which he mentioned the financial struggle. Gerry became interested in helping, and through the show, got sponsors from around the country to come on board and assist Ian with his fees for the first two years.

After graduation, he worked in the Mater hospital as an orthopedic surgeon, where he got to registrar level.

"At that point, you have to take a year or two out to do a research MD," he says. "During that time, I did an MBA at Smurfit Business School and realised that I liked being my own boss. I had been working with my friend David Durney in a company called Fresh Starts childcare, and an opportunity came up to buy it.

"After we took it over, we also started Imagine Health, which is a provider of a new type of clinical and counselling psychological services within GP practices for adults, teenagers and children. Medicine and psychology together have helped me to get lots of attention nationally for childcare issues."

While Ian didn't go back into direct medical practice, he is the official medic for Lansdowne Rugby Club and Leinster 20s. He has also been in demand as a psychology expert on programmes such as the All-Ireland Talent Show and Operation Transformation.

"Although our paths have crossed, we work in different areas and I find Ian's business very interesting," says Carrie. "He's a very insightful person and is very kind and good-hearted and really good fun. We chat a lot so it's really nice to sit and natter together when the kids are gone to bed.

"He may be a little anal with his tidiness though! Although it's brilliant for the house, all of his shirts hang in the one direction in the cupboard, for example, and I'm naturally a messy person. When you open my cupboards, things just fall out on you."

Carrie says that she is happy that she chose to live in Ireland, although she misses her friends and family back in Sussex.

"I don't get back to see them as often as I would like because it's hard travelling with two small children," she says sadly. "It has definitely been worth it though!"

Imagine Health provides clients with coping skills and strategies that will have positive impacts on every aspect of their day-to-day life. Visit , or call (01) 662-9100

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